Update: Via Jeff Dunetz, here’s the whole Comey statement:
Update: I’m with Gabriel Malor on this:
It is hard to square Comey's comments on intent with the gross negligence standard of 18 U.S.C. § 793(f).
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) July 5, 2016
On Twitter, there’s been a lot of “the FBI didn’t find a malicious intent” pushback against criticism, but that statute expressly doesn’t require malicious intent for prosecution. It expressly states that “gross negligence” meets the standard for criminal prosecution, and Comey spent most of the presser making the case for gross negligence.
And once again, if Comey thinks that this multiple-server e-mail scheme doesn’t rise to the level of prosecution, why is the DoJ prosecuting Kristian Saucier, a sailor who took a few cell-phone photos of his submarine for his own personal mementoes?
Update: ABC’s Rick Klein is a bit non-plussed:
All that and yet – "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case. "Cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges."
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) July 5, 2016
Update: So Comey says that no criminal charges will be recommended, and it’s certain that the DoJ won’t decide to pursue any. This report will be a momentary embarrassment, but that’s all — despite the clear language of 18 USC 793 and 18 USC 1924 and the FBI’s finding that she sent and received top-secret information on a private, unsecured, and unauthorized e-mail system. Time until Team Hillary starts hailing this as a vindication: 30 minutes or less.
Update: “No reasonable prosecutor” would take the case? Hmmmm.
Update: “Hostile actors gained access” to the communications of people communicating with Hillary, and it’s “possible that hostile actors gained access” to her system.
Update: Evidence that Hillary and aides were “extremely careless” with handling of classified material. Reasonable to conclude that any person briefed on security should have known that none of this material should have ever been transmitted through a personal e-mail system. Edging up to “gross negligence” in 18 USC 793.
Update: “No evidence” that deletion of work-related e-mails was intentional.
Update: A reminder from Chris Cillizza:
Remember Clinton said ZERO emails she sent or received were classified at the time. https://t.co/nrYwHCPwpq
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) July 5, 2016
Update: 110 e-mails had classified information at the time the messages were sent — eight of which were top-secret or higher. The FBI also found “several thousand” work-related e-mails that Hillary had not turned over to State. Huge.
Update: Comey says there were “several servers,” not just one.
Update: Comey says they are referring the matter to the DoJ for a “prosecutive decision.” Also says he has not coordinated the statement with anyone else in government. Whoa.
Update: Follow along with Fox News in this live feed:
Original post follows:
Whatever could this mean? Just three days after Hillary Clinton met with the FBI for an “interview” over her unauthorized e-mail system and its transmission and retention of classified information, James Comey wants to have a chat with the press and take some “off-camera q’s from reporters.” CBS’ Paula Reid notes that they won’t discuss the topic, but … come on, man:
JUST IN: FBI Director Comey will make statement and take off-camera q's from reporters at 11am today. FBI/DOJ wont confirm topic.
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) July 5, 2016
What else could the topic be? If Comey’s taking questions, then the only topic of interest will be Hillary Clinton. If that’s what Comey has in mind, then a press conference raises the stakes for the potential message. If Comey’s going to give Hillary a clean bill of health, the timing would certainly be propitious, as Allahpundit pointed out on Twitter:
Comey’s not going to clear Hillary on the very day Obama starts campaigning with her, is he?
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 5, 2016
Would Comey hold a press conference if the FBI didn’t find enough evidence to file charges? Not normally, but this has hardly been a normal investigation. Usually a statement would be enough to get the job done, and would be even more politic in this case. Why take a bunch of questions if the FBI declines to press its case? That would only put Comey in the tough position of dancing around the facts publicly, when a statement would speak for itself.
On the other hand, if the FBI will hand the Department of Justice a criminal referral, then that process would have to involve some negotiation with the DoJ and especially Loretta Lynch. The only time that has passed since Hillary’s “interview” is a Sunday and a national holiday, plus three hours of office time this morning — hardly enough time to go through the usual process. If Comey got an answer that quickly, then there is another possibility:
That’s been the ace Comey has held in the hole all along. He’s well regarded for integrity on both sides of the aisle. If the DoJ refuses to prosecute, they need Comey to stay on the job to legitimize that decision. A resignation would make clear that the decision was political and not based on evidence, which would tarnish the reputations of everyone involved except Comey.
So far, not much has leaked on this presser, but stay tuned at 11 am ET to see how this concludes.